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A New Course Development in Usability Engineering: Hands-On Learning Based on Research Work

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Industrial Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

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Paper Authors


Enas Aref Western Michigan University

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Mrs. Enas Aref is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Industrial Engineering Department at Western Michigan University. Mrs. Aref served as an instructor of several Engineering courses at the Graduate and Undergraduate levels. Mrs. Aref has a Master's Degree in Project Management from Keller Graduate School of Management , a BSc. Mechanical Engineering, and is a certified Associate Ergonomics Professional Mrs. Aref has a 10+ years of experience in several engineering areas including manufacturing, inventory control, procurement, import and export.

Research areas: Ergonomics and Human factors, Usability Engineering, Engineering Education, Cyber-Physical Systems

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Tycho K. Fredericks Western Michigan University

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Dr. Tycho K. Fredericks is a Professor in the Department of Industrial and Entrepreneurial Engineering & Engineering Management at Western Michigan University. Dr. Fredericks has 18 years of experience working with healthcare professionals on product design and evaluation, and workload assessment. Additionally, he serves as Director of the Human Performance Institute and has been a gubernatorial appointee to various safety committees in the State of Michigan. He has been a member of the General Industry Safety Standards Commission, the Joint Ergonomics Standard Steering Committee and the Ergonomics Standard Advisory Committee. Dr. Fredericks has published over 100 scholarly articles and is currently responsible for the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences medical engineering initiative.

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This paper describes the development of a graduate course (6000 level) in Usability Engineering that is offered in the Department of Industrial and Entrepreneurial Engineering and Engineering Management at a national university. The paper also includes assessment of the course content by faculty and students. The course is offered as an elective to graduate students enrolled in the Industrial Engineering Program, Engineering Management Program and Biomedical Engineering Program. The course is designed to provide an introduction on Human Factors followed by comprehensive instructions on Usability Engineering. A unique aspect of the course is integrating research studies as part of the instructional method. During each class meeting, the instructor led a review session to discuss several research papers that students read. The aim of the discussion is to learn how to conduct research to test usability of products or systems in different areas and application. This is allowing students to learn the direct application of usability in their area of specialization given the diverse educational background of students enrolled in the class. As part of the course assessment, students are asked to prepare a usability portfolio that will serve as a body of knowledge on usability testing to help them conduct usability studies in their career. Students are also required to follow the scientific research method to conduct a course project. Students participated enthusiastically in the research discussions and demonstrated mastery of understating, critiquing and producing research.

Aref, E., & Fredericks, T. K. (2021, July), A New Course Development in Usability Engineering: Hands-On Learning Based on Research Work Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36599

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